Thursday 23 July 2015


Artwork from the Beatles feature film 'Yellow Submarine' by Ron Campbell.
Lovers of the Beatles “Yellow Submarine” film and the Beatles animated television series and cartoon fanatics alike may not think they have much in common, but the cherished characters of both worlds were all brought to life by celebrated animator Ron Campbell.

Fans of the artist will have the opportunity to meet Campbell and view and purchase his art when he visits the Ann Jackson Gallery at 932 Canton St. on Aug. 7 and 8 from 12 to 8 p.m. and Aug. 9 from noon to 4 p.m.

Campbell will be painting new works relating to his cartoon characters and “Yellow Submarine,” exhibiting original art and chatting with gallery guests during his appearance. The exhibit is free and all previously completed works on display and pieces created at the gallery will be available for purchase.
“I enjoy interacting with fans of my work and audiences familiar with my cartoons, and of course, Beatles fans,” Campbell said.

Campbell, an Australia native, said he first fell in love with animation while watching “Tom and Jerry” cartoons at the movies when he was just 6 years old. Campbell said he was mystified by the cartoons and when he realized the characters were drawings he wondered if he could make his own drawings and bring them to life.
“For some reason it stayed with me and instead of doing something important like building bridges or drawing airplanes, I drew cartoons. That’s been my whole life,” Campbell said.

Campbell attended the Swinburne Art Institute in Melbourne and in 1958 he got his first job at a small animation studio after banging on the door and insisting that they hire him. Campbell said after the studio relented, he was sat at a desk and given a commercial with a centipede to animate.
“I thought, I would pay them to let me do this,” Campbell said. “It was 100 drawings of 100 legs, I exaggerate but it was a lot and it was a tedious job of drawing 100 legs, but I loved it and have loved it ever since.”
In the 1960s Campbell received a call from the producer of “The Beatles” cartoon. The series had been sold to ABC and the producer asked Campbell to direct episodes that would be produced in Australia. Later Campbell would also contribute to the animation for various scenes from the Beatles feature film “Yellow Submarine”.
Though he admits to loving their music now, before his work on the Beatles cartoon and film, Campbell had never heard of the band and thought that bugs wouldn’t make good characters.
Besides The Beatles, Campbell has storyboarded, produced, directed or animated for numerous other shows including “The Flintstones,” “The Jetsons” and “The Smurfs.” Campbell was also part of the original team that created the “Scooby Doo” series and contributed to the Emmy-award winning “Smurfolympics” special.
 In the 1990s, Campbell was hired for animation direction and storyboarding with Disney TV Animation and worked on various shows such as “Darkwing Duck,” “Goof Troop” and “Bonkers.” During that time he also storyboarded for the “Rugrats”, “Rocket Power” and “Duckman”, receiving an Emmy nomination for a storyboard for “Aahh! Real Monsters” and another for the “Rugrats.”
Now retired in Arizona, Campbell spends four to five hours a day drawing the characters that he’s worked on during his career and said he looks forward to seeing the world and meeting fans during his travels.

Campbell also said he feels lucky to have been able to work on projects that he enjoyed and wouldn’t know how to begin to pick a favorite character or cartoon.
“How do I choose between ‘Scooby Doo’ and the ‘Smurfs’ or ‘George of the Jungle’ and George Jetson? It’s impossible to choose, I loved them all,” Campbell said.

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